The Australian : Terror raid arrested freed without charge

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Terror raid arrested freed without charge

Article from: Agence France-Presse | From correspondents in London | April 22, 2009

THE two remaining suspects among 12 mostly Pakistani men arrested during a major anti-terror operation in northwest England this month have been released without charge today, police say.

A police spokesman said the men were 41 and 23 years old.

Their release comes just hours after police handed over nine other men, aged between 22 and 38, to the UK Border Agency without charging them.

One 18-year-old student was released to the immigration authorities three days after the raids.

"All of the suspects arrested by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit during the recent operation have now been released," Greater Manchester Police said.

The 12 were arrested on April 8 in pre-dawn swoops in Manchester and Liverpool.

Of the group, 11 were Pakistani nationals, 10 had student visas and one was from Britain.

Police said that of the 12 men, 11 were now in the custody of British immigration officials, who have said they will be deported.

The police statement said prosecutors had advised that there was "insufficient evidence gathered within the permitted timescales which would have allowed a warrant of further detention to be gathered or charges to be pursued."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown had said police were investigating a "major terrorist plot", and police defended the arrests on Tuesday on the grounds of public safety.

The anti-terror raids had to be brought forward after Britain's top counter-terrorism policeman was photographed holding clearly legible briefing notes on the operation.

He resigned over the gaffe.

The arrests, and the revelations that 10 of the men held were on student visas, have put Brown's government under pressure to strengthen its visa rules.